King Flag Compromise Proposed
Special Report - November 24, 2010
The removal of a Christian flag from the local Veteran’s Memorial by city officials in King, North Carolina, continues to raise controversy in the tight-knit community. About 100 citizens attended a public meeting at a local elementary school on November 22 aimed at answering questions about a proposed policy that is being developed by the city’s attorney and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Christian civil liberties group. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Joe Infranco, ADF senior counsel, who had met earlier that day with city council members in a closed session, told citizens at the meeting that the proposed limited public forum policy would use a lottery system to randomly select local residents who would pick the religious flag to fly at the Veteran’s Memorial on a rotating basis. Under the proposed policy, the citizens of King, as opposed to the city, would select the religious flag to display from among the religious flags that are approved by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for use at military cemeteries. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that about 14 people questioned Mr. Infranco and the city’s attorney, Walter Pitt, about the proposed policy, and some raised concerns over the types of religious flags the policy would allow to be displayed. Others questioned why the city would not simply restore the Christian flag to the memorial.
As we previously reported, the King city council voted unanimously in early November to approve a resolution that authorized the city attorney to work with ADF in the development of the proposed policy. The city’s decision to remove the Christian flag from the Veteran’s Memorial was in response to letters of complaint from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), threatening a lawsuit. After the city council voted to remove the flag from the Veteran’s Memorial, local citizens rallied behind the Christian flag, urging city officials to return it to the park. Over 5,000 people attended a march and rally on October 23, and supporters have developed a new Facebook page, Christian Flag-King, which now has over 4,000 members.
Opponents of the Christian flag have criticized the proposed policy. AU has called the policy a “religious right sneak play” on its blog, and AU executive director Barry Lynn told the Winston-Salem Journal that the policy “would have the effect of favoring religion over non-religion, which the Supreme Court has said is a violation of church and state.”
The proposed policy will be posted on the city’s website by November 29, and the city council may vote on adopting the policy at its December 6 meeting. If the city council adopts the policy, it would take effect in January 2011, according to Mr. Infranco.
King Council Wants New Flag Policy - November 3, 2010
Christian Flag Focus Of Rally - October 27, 2010
King Christian Flag At Issue - October 8, 2010
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